Jesus began His ministry leading by example. He was baptized, not because He needed to be forgiven of sins, but because His entire life was meant to be an example for us. He wanted us to follow His example and be baptized as a symbol and an announcement of a new life!
But then something odd happened. The Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove. The Father proclaimed His pleasure from heaven. And then…
The Spirit immediately drove Him out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And He was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to Him. Mark 1:12-13
Other gospel writers tell us that Jesus didn’t eat anything for forty days, and that Satan’s temptations were constant and difficult. I praise God that Jesus wasn’t overcome—that He made it through this enormous hardship! It shows us that, as we let Jesus live through us, we can overcome Satan’s temptations also.
However, one of the harder-to-understand things in this passage is that it was the Holy Spirit that drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. Does God intend for hardships to come to us? I think it’s safe to answer “yes.” Yes, because God knows that sometimes hard times are the very things that bring us closer to Him. Sometimes He uses tragedies to wake us up and point us closer to Him—read Amos 4! Other times He uses hard times to test our faith and help us trust Him more—read Genesis 22! Always, these hard times are intended to grow us closer to God.
I want to be quick to say that not all hard times come from God! God doesn’t cause children to die. He doesn’t drive pilots to intentionally crash into mountains or inspire people to mercilessly slaughter other groups of people. These acts are acts of Satan, not God! We live in a world where Satan has lots of control, but I’m thankful that despite this, God has already won the ultimate battle, and He has won the victory! However, God is able to use every situation to work out for our good (Romans 8:28)!
Here’s the main point: God allows trials, sometimes (not always) causes them, for our own good.
So the next time something rough is happening in your life, remember that it’s ok to struggle through it, but also remember that through whatever the trial, God is working something good through it.
Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness was just one of the many events that opened the way for our salvation. If God can work something bad into something that brought good to the whole world, imagine what He can do with the trials we face, if we face them with Christ alone as our shield and salvation!
Timmy Baze 😀